Recognizing the Signs of Trauma, Anxiety, and Stress
In the Monthly Kids Yoga Teacher Check-In we look at some of the signs of Trauma and how to help children and teachers relax.
In all honesty, this topic is my own request. I know I need help.
When my presentation at the Kids Yoga Conference and live teacher training were completed at the beginning of this month, I felt exhausted.
Since March of 2020, when COVID hit with the first lock-down, it’s felt like non-stop work:
- First there was moving the training online and all the work that took,
- Add in the murder of George Floyd that we all witnessed and the long overdue focus on racism in our police forces, institutions, and social constructs,
- Add in revelations of gross misconduct and abuse by the “Master” teacher of the yoga that I practice,
- Add in lock-downs, lack of contact with my support network, not to mention fear of catching a deadly virus!
And, I understand that this pandemic has been much harder for many people for so many other reasons.
I Couldn’t Slow Down
May of 2021 was my first chance to take a long break since everything began. I planned a week off work but I couldn’t stop working! Checking emails, checking social media, reviewing spreadsheets, it was an addiction,
Slowing down wasn’t coming naturally,
I needed to make an effort to slow down.
Slowing down wasn’t coming naturally, I needed to make an effort to slow down. I took the Facebook app off my phone and made other moves to help me unplug. I got help with my business. I stepped away from my computer.
For a few days I mostly slept, watched TV, and went for walks. Eventually I had some energy for restorative yoga.
Then I pulled out my ukulele and started playing again. My fingers burned from lack of practice but it felt good to sing and strum.
Then one day, for no particular reason, I had a good cry, a big release of pent up energy. I had a good talk with a loved one about it, and after that it felt a lot easier to relax.
Spotting the Signs of Trauma
When there is a traumatic event, like the pandemic, we may need to just push through to survive. When we move out of the the trauma, we can turn an eye towards addressing some of side effects, like these symptoms of post-traumatic stress:
- feelings of hopelessness,
- difficulty maintaining relationships,
- losing interest in activities you once enjoyed,
- difficulty feeling positive emotions/feeling numb,
- trouble sleeping,
- trouble concentrating,
- and more
For many, yoga and relaxation creates a space to process these feelings and reconnect. But they may not work for everyone, and each person needs to find their own helpful tools.
I’m not an expert in trauma, I recommend consulting those who know much more about this topic than me. I’ve listed some resources at the end.
This stressful, exhausting year has resulted in trauma for children and for Teachers
I wish I had a magic wand that would help everyone through it, but I’m still figuring it out myself.
One thing I do know, you need to be extra kind and compassionate with yourself during this time. To check-in with yourself and with the kids around you and look for the symptoms of trauma that may be present.
Then try something, anything, to help yourself.
Maybe its showing up to the Monthly Check-In to connect with others, maybe its something else.
My wish is that you know you are not alone and that people care.
The Monthly Check-In Question:
What yoga tools help you relax?
How do you help kids relax with yoga?
Personally I’m indulging in restorative yoga. For me, it’s a delicious rest, though I start off feeling the challenge of settling down and stop doing, doing, doing. I feel restless at first, then usually about 10 minutes into it, I deeply relax.
I did a class yesterday with a 25 minute supported savasana (all in silence) that was very refreshing.
It reminds me of when I worked in a daycare in the nap room. Kids just don’t fall asleep right away, each child had their own routine to help them. Sometimes rubbing a back, sometimes tucking in a blanket tight, and sometimes a favourite toy. Then eventually kids would settle into deep rest.
So whatever works for you – do it! No judgement here.
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time watching the hockey playoffs. It has absolutely has nothing to do with yoga but takes my mind off of everything.
Whatever it takes to help you make it to the days when we can be with our loved ones again!
Mental Health is Health
If you have any suggestions for relaxing, come out on Saturday or leave a comment. After the Monthly Check-In, you can get the replay here.
Here are some resources for mental health that you may find useful:
- Coping with COVID-19 Mental Health Resources
- Free Online Therapy Resource for Ontario Residents
- Other Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress